Independence Day, the Flag, and a New Found Meaning

HAPPY Independence Day / 4th of July! The celebration of our Independence will probably take on a whole new meaning as a new Plebe parent.

I remember an increased desire to learn about our history, and spent our first 4th as a Plebe parent reading about the revolution, and our flag, and was moved to tears of pride at the thought that our sons and daughter were serving our nation and carrying on a long line of tradition and history.

As Plebe parents, you may still be still recovering from I-Day and the day after. You may be feeling a little sad, empty, and may find that the house is quieter than normal. I remember walking into my kids’ rooms numerous times to tell them something and would suddenly remember they weren’t there. Or I would begin to text them about something I had forgotten to mention and realized that they don’t have their phones. I remember seeing flags flying gracefully in the wind against a blue sky and wondering what was going on, what our children were up to, and how they were doing. The adjustment is sudden, almost brutal and difficult, and at times heart wrenching. But as we begin to heal, find pictures, and follow the journey we can begin to celebrate small and big victories, and to have joy once again.

Know that Plebes will be able to enjoy today under the watchful eye of their Detailers. The evening of the 4th brings Plebes a small respite and an opportunity to relax a little. This evening they may enjoy a cook out, which in years past has been catered by Mission BBQ. We will see what happens this year. Plebes should also have the opportunity to watch the fireworks over Annapolis as they sit outside. During our oldest’s Plebe Summer 4th of July “celebration” his 4th Co Detailers made their Plebes “Oooh” and “Aah!” every time a firework lit up the sky – what they said would depend on the color of the fireworks.

As far as history, I helped my daughter to research about John Paul Jones for a project during her senior year in high school. I was baptized in the chapel and have visited the crypt at the Chapel many times. I found myself immersed in John Paul Jones’ story and after reading many of his letters we found out that a tragedy that occurred on his ship which cost him dearly, which is why he was the first to petition Congress for an academy where Midshipmen would be properly trained in naval protocols and sailing skills. He is really the original “father” of the Naval Academy. Our daughter subsequently became a part of that Naval Academy that John Paul Jones had petitioned Congress to establish. Who knew?

So on your inaugural Fourth of July as a USNA parent, I thought I would share some info about N*ot College that may be helpful as you learn to navigate USNA and the Navy. Some information that is helpful are the class years at USNA – What is each called? One of the big and glaring differences between Navy and regular college is that the class years are called by different names. If you hear current parents talk about Youngsters, 1/C, or 2/C, here is what that means:

Plebe = Freshman (No stripe)
Youngster = Sophomore (One Diagonal stripe, one anchor)
2/C or Second Class = Junior (2 diagonal stripes, 2 anchors)
1/C or First Class = Senior (1 or more straight stripes, 2 eagles)

Mid Ranks

There are other glaring differences between regular and N*ot College and at times it may seem that our children are speaking a different language. Well, they are! Welcome to the wonderful world of Navy terms and acronyms. Although I do discuss a few in my book, A USNA Mom’s Journal, you will find an in-depth resource with the acronyms that are typically used by Plebes and Mids. Look for the link for “USNA Speak” on my website’s Resource page. The USNA Speak guide will help you to get familiarized with some of the things you may hear as you learn the language that is NavSpeak.

Also, if you have not had a chance to listen to my Podcast, these are some good episodes to begin: Episodes ONE, TWO, 19, and 20 – you can listen below.

From Mid, to Officer to Civilian with Academy Insider’s Grant Vermeer – Part 1 | Episode USNA MidMoms and More Podcast

Academy Insider's Grant Vermeer, is back!! He joins me for a candid conversation filled with invaluable insights, stories, and advice for Mids, Officers, and parents alike.  A MUST listen!  Based on my book, A USNA Mom's Journal, available exclusively at the Midstore and on my website:
  1. From Mid, to Officer to Civilian with Academy Insider’s Grant Vermeer – Part 1 | Episode
  2. You asked, We Answered – What You Should Know about NAPS! | Episode 35
  3. Plebe Parent Weekend – Light at the End of the Tunnel | Episode 34
  4. AN’s I-Day Bootcamp Class of 2027 | Episode 33
  5. Chester Midshipmouse – The Last Chapter | Episode 32

Buckle up, tighten the safety belt and get ready for the ride. Happy Independence Day and as always, I am here if you have questions!


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